Around the world

Although stocks and pillories fell into general disuse in Europe and the North America during the 19th century, they continued to be used as a judicial punishment elsewhere.

chile.jpg A man in the stocks in Chile.

santiago.jpg Prisoners in the stocks in Santiago, Chile.

persian.jpg Prisoners in Persia (now Iran).

philipines.jpg Two men pilloried in the Philipines in 1899.

filipinoprisoners.jpg Prisoners in the stocks in the Philipines.

srilanka.jpg Prisoner in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

Syrian.jpg Prisoner in Syria.


The cangue and other forms of stocks were commonly used in China. For further information, visit the Chinese Stocks page.


As recently as 1995, stocks and pillories were still being used in Panama. According to a news report from InterPress Service:

"Authorities on Panama's western coast, in a practice recalling the Middle Ages, have brought back the wooden pillory to punish rebellious native peoples, a local humanitarian group has charged.

Activists of Catholic group Service of Peace and Justice (Serpaj) showed photographs of an improvised pillory used to hold indigenous men, women and children accused of breaking the law. The pillory was constructed of two wooden boards with openings in the shape of a half moon. It is used to immobilize a person by his neck, feet or arms.

amazoncepo.jpg Jose Mendoza, coordinator of Serpaj, told IPS that they have already identified four locations where local officials are using this medieval punishment device to imprison accused lawbreakers by their feet.

Mendoza said that Serpaj activists confirmed the use of pillories in Chorcha in the district of San Felix, in Cerro Iglesia, the districts of Remedios and in Cerro Puerco, and in the district of Tole -- all located in the western province of Chiriqui, bordering Costa Rica. Pillories were also set up in El Prado, district of Las Palmas of the same province, he added.

Victims of this punishment are the Ngobe-Bugle indigenous people. For the last 20 years they have been locked in dispute with the government for the return of some 11,000 sq kms of territory located in Chiriqui and in the western provinces of Veraguas and Bocas del Toro."


Stocks are still being used to this day in Indonesia. Not as a punishment but to restrain the mentally ill. For further information, visit the Indonesia page.


Offenders in rural communities in Colombia are still punished in the village stocks. This video shows an unfaithful wife and her lover locked in the stocks in Sucre, Colombia, where they were imprisoned on 19 March 2012 for 72 hours (3 days and nights). Here is a transcript of the news report:

alfreda "An indigenous tribe in Colombia takes the law into their own hands and puts a man and a woman in stocks for having an affair.

A Colombian man and woman found themselves in stocks on Monday (March 19) when an indigenous community handed down their own brand of justice, punishing the pair for alleged infidelity.

Thirty-four-year-old Alfreda Blanco Basilio was locked up for 72 hours after she was believed to have been unfaithful to her husband with 18-year-old Luis Martinez. Martinez was also put in the stocks.

Basilio's husband, Oscar Pineda, accused his wife of abandoning their six children to have an affair which he said had been going on for months.

colombia.jpg. "She abandoned her children and so I went to the police and reported her. Then they (his wife and the other man) came to the town and passed by me and I did not like this. And so that is why they were put in the stocks," he said.

But Pineda himself did not escape punishment and was jailed for 72 hours for having hit his wife after finding out about the affair.

Cesar Martinez, a resident of the Sampues tribe, said they have their own legal code to keep the community's independence.

"Our community is based on articles of law, where each one has its punishment and it is necessary to comply with them so that the local government maintains its autonomy," he said.

The angry husband was granted a divorce by the end of his incarceration period."

Indigena castigada por infiel Another unfaithful wife being punished, this time in Paez de Gaitania, Colombia in 2009. She was given 30 lashes and was secured in these unusual stocks for 15 minutes. Although this seems a very short time, it must have been extremely uncomfortable for her to be suspended by her ankles in this manner. And of course she has to endure the shame of being publicly humiliated in front of the entire village. The punishment seems to have been effective as, according to a Colombian newspaper ("El Espectador" 26 July 2009), the woman apparently repented her infidelity and was subsequently reunited with her husband.

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Last modified 1 October 2016.
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